11/15/2012 2:55PM

Dover: Progress Pace win equals year-end title for Heston Blue Chip?

Ken Weingartner
Heston Blue Chip is the 2-5 early choice in the $270,000 Progress Pace.

What have you done for me lately?

That is the world we live in and the reality which has Heston Blue Chip on a path for potential divisional honors in the 3-year-old pacing colt division. Three consecutive wins and a Breeders Crown trophy will do that for a horse.

First Heston Blue Chip must keep the streak alive with a win in Sunday’s $270,000 Progress Pace at Dover Downs. He blitzed the same foes he faces this week in a $35,000 preview edition of the rich final and bested most of them in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine last month.

Although Heston Blue Chip is controlling the ball at this moment and is receiving the accolades that go with it, he was hardly a slouch prior to his hot streak. The son of American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip owns an impressive 12 for 15 record this year and is 23 for 28 in his career.

Unfortunately, prior to the Breeders Crown, the colt had come up short or been dealt bad hands in his prior engagements against the best of his division. He was stuck in a bad flow during the Meadowlands Pace and could not overcome post 9 in the Cane Pace at Tioga Downs.

But Heston Blue Chip’s luck changed when conditioner Linda Toscano added Lasix to the colt’s daily regimen back in October and he has yet to taste defeat since. Whether or not Lasix made the difference is irrelevant to the tasks at hand: A championship season.

There are three stakes races remaining on the schedule for pacing colts: Progress Pace, Matron (Dover, Dec. 2) and the Cleveland Classic (Northfield, Dec. 8). A win on Sunday and in one of the remaining two races would vault Heston Blue Chip over the $1 million mark and into the catbird seat for a year-end title.

Although the listed 2-5 morning line odds on Heston Blue Chip (post 5) would have you thinking otherwise, the task of winning the Progress will not be easy. Sweet Lou (3-1) has drawn the rail on the speed-favoring surface and seems likely to push Heston before settling into the pocket.

Sweet Lou, who sports a $1,068,676 bankroll and 8 seasonal wins from 19 starts, was a bit dull last week going for just $35,000 but should perk up with the big money on the line. All of the colts previous efforts were good miles.

And there is the sneaky Bettor’s Edge (10-1), also trained by Toscano, leaving from post two. The gelded son of Bettor’s Delight has displayed the ability to step up when you least expect it and is only one start removed from a victory in the $250,000 Monument Circle at Indiana Downs.

The Progress Pace is race 10 on the 15-race Dover program, which also features seven splits of the Matron finals. Two-year-olds of both gaits and sexes will be on display during races 1, 2, 4 and 7. Three-year-old trotters strut their stuff in races 6 and 8, while sophomore pacing fillies vie for $123,939 in race 11.

First race post time for the program is 5:30 pm.